Sharon Burke

Sr Advisor
New America

The Honorable Sharon E. Burke has dwelt in the Washington, DC, swamp for almost three decades. She started her career as a public servant at the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, which Newt Gingrich eliminated in 1994, because Congress clearly didn't need science and technology advice at the dawn of the Digital Age. After receiving a Master's degree from Columbia University as a Zuckerman Fellow, she slithered back to the swamp -- no, seriously: the Pentagon was actually built on a site called "Hell's Bottom" back in 1942 out of materials dredged from the Potomac River. Sharon served in the Pentagon from 1994-2001 as a speechwriter and policy advisor, including as a Country Director for South Asia. In 2003, she returned to government service at the State Department, where she worked for Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. In 2010, President Barack Obama nominated her to the post of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, a new office founded to promote the energy security of military operations. After four years in that position, she joined New America, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization and civic enterprise that explores new ideas for Digital Age governance. Sharon focuses on "natural security," or the intersection of natural resources, economic prosperity, and national security, and also advises the Future of War project. She has awards, publications, and a great family, with whom she is currently spending more time.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.